Committee wants nutritional diet on anganwadi plate
‘Replace multiple food items with single recipe for better consumption’
A committee set up by the High Court has suggested that the menu for children in anganwadis comprise fewer but tastier and more nutritional items to check malnutrition.
The committee, set up to look into deaths of children due to malnutrition in Raichur, has recommended that multiple food items provided under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) should be replaced with fewer items to ensure better consumption among pregnant women, lactating mothers and children. The move will facilitate better distribution at anganwadi centres, the committee report said.
The team, which visited Janakiraman Layout in Lingarajapuram and Doddagubbi village in Bangalore North, studied the consumption patterns among those who availed the take home ration (THR).
Shared with family
The report said that monthly ration was consumed in less than a week, as it was shared with the rest of the family. Sometimes, the ration was also shared with the neighbours.
The 420 gm of rice provided monthly in Bangalore north made one meal for the family and it is the same in the case of the multi-grain wheat atta and the 300 gm of dal. The rice kheer, rava laddu mix, ragi powder were also consumed by the family and neighbours within a week of reaching the kitchen shelves.
Nina Nayak, one of the panel members, said the THR included rice, dal and multi-grain wheat atta, rava laddu mix, rice kheer mix, ragi powder and three types of masalas for ‘puliyogare’, ‘chitranna’ and ‘bisibele bath’. But multiple food items did not necessarily mean they are palatable.
“A majority of the families we spoke to said the children did not find the rice kheer and energy foods savoury. They rejected the masala mixes as they are very spicy and had a strange smell,” she said. Based on the observations, the team recommended that the State consider delivering only one or two food items which are tastier and more nutritional.
The team members have suggested that the food supply system followed by Odisha be considered. Odisha has taken a decision to give only one item - the ready-to-eat ‘chhatua’ to all eligible beneficiaries. Providing ‘chhatua’ will ensure that it goes to the intended beneficiary and does not enter the family kitty.
The ingredients of the ‘chhatua’ include rice, bengal gram, groundnut and sugar and there is variation in proportion and quantity that is given to children aged six months to three years, pregnant women and lactating mothers. A single recipe of ‘chhatua’ is provided to ensure that proper nutritional composition and quality are maintained.
In addition, the ration is supplied on the 1st and 15th of every month to the beneficiaries. Colour coding of THR packets ensures uniformity and plugs leakage.
The team has also recommended ISI marking and printing expiry date on food packets. The team members also directed anganwadi centres not to accept packets which do not carry a reasonable expiry date of 30 days.